This was expected – while R & W Holdings have stated initially that they don’t want to make a takeover offer for Arsenal in the immediate future, that’s clearly part of their longterm plans and now they have upped their stake by 2% to 23% shares.
Troubling? For Arsenal fans, clearly, but I’m starting to believe that this bodes ill for English football in general as well.
We’ve already gone through one hostile takeover, and the repercussions can still be seen amongst Manchester United fans. Even then, the Glazers have a sporting background and you can expect them to give their management team leeway to determine playing terms as they saw fit and focus on the marketing / money-making side of things (which are hurting the fans, yes, but the alternative, as seen at Stamford Bridge, is probably worse).
A billionaire who wants to buy into a club for money is, on principle, a dangerous proposition. We’ve already established that Arsenal don’t need someone to bail them out – their finances are healthy and they’re on target not only to repay their debt but also make as much money as possible available for players and wages. The importance of this financial wealth cannot be underestimated –
While Arsenal fans and the board get ready for war (at the end of the day, it takes a helluva lot to stop someone from taking over a club if they have the money to do so), fans from other clubs should put aside their biases and consider the situation rationally.
If you had a choice between:
- An owner who puts football and the interests of the club first and
- An owner who buys the club for real estate
Who would you pick?
A second question – would you go for an owner who let the manager make the decisions or an owner who interferes with the day to day running of football?
I don’t think that Roman has interfered as much in Chelsea’s playing matters as some suggest – the trouble, IMO, came from Chelsea bringing in players that Jose didn’t want AND from Jose’s public profile that at times incited hatred against Chelsea.
What would happen to Arsenal if, after taking over, Usmanov wanted to bring in Messi, Aguero, Kaka and Podolski to the Emirates? On paper it sounds great, right?
So did Ballack and Sheva going to Chelsea.
What would happen if, as it happened at Steaua Bucharest, the owner threatens to fire the manager for not picking the team? You can argue that the owner probably knows better, but would you bet against Wenger? I don’t think so.
Ideally, nothing like this will happen. However, you cannot base your club’s future on ‘hope’ alone – if you had to make a choice between someone who understands what’s best for the club and someone who wants to dictate terms to the club, there’s is no question which option you should be picking.
Usmanov’s potential arrival at Arsenal could mean the end of Wenger at the club. Considering the relationship he has with the players, it would also mean that a few key players would reconsider their positions at the club (I’m pretty sure there are a few Chelsea players reconsidering their futures – not that they’ve suddenly decided to quit, but it must be on their minds now). Arsenal would survive if Fabregas left, but the cost of it would be tremendous.
Arsenal doesn’t need the money, they don’t need the interference and football itself doesn’t need this type of influence.
Let’s hope the Premier League and the courts see it that way as well, because that’s where this matter is headed.
If Usmanov takes over, a very dangerous precedent will be set for football – I hope, for once, that the authorities take the right side in this matter don’t hide behind some crap about ‘freedom of trade’.
I repeat – Football does NOT need this type of influence. Football first, money later. It’s that simple.
[Photo from Kommersant.com]
if you oppose Usmanov having any part of Arsenal, then I urge you to sign this official government petition to enforce a more rigorous ‘fit and proper person’ criteria for owners of football clubs (it can only be signed by UK residents). Thanks to Arseblog for pointing to the link.